Steve Klink was a longtime eBay enthusiast, buying and selling items as varied as a used car and basement furniture imported from Thailand over the popular Internet auction site.

But his view of eBay changed in 2003 after "the speaker incident," when a supposedly new speaker arrived looking as if it had been used as a chew toy for an animal.

When he contacted eBay, "they didn’t want to hear anything about it," Klink says. They told him the seller claimed it was brand new when sent and an animal must have gotten into the package.

Not satisfied with the response, he set up a Web site to post his complaint. Almost immediately, the seller offered to refund the money if Klink would remove the complaint.

He did, but he kept the Web site with the provocative name,, to help other victims deal with fraud and misrepresentation on eBay.

Since then, the site has grown into what Klink calls "the largest community of users dedicated to wiping out auction fraud," and spawned Dawn of the eBay Deadbeats, a book Klink published with his brother Edward.

The self-published book is a collection of some of the more than 800 tales that have been posted on the Web site.

As explained in the introduction, these are "stories told by those who have been suckered, snookered, pinched, and robbed while buying and selling on eBay."

"You might shake your head ruefully and think them to be saps who deserved to be screwed, but you’d be wrong, because some of them are just like you."

© 2006, North Jersey Media Group Inc.

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